This market has mostly been marred with controversies. Be it theft cases or the more serious incidents of gender-related violence, eve teasing, peddling of pornographic material, Palika Bazar in Connaught Place is always in the news.
Selling all kinds of ‘branded’ things, the underground shopping area in the centrally located Delhi is a hub for youngsters, mainly boys.
Because Palika Bazar is surely not on the list of girls, keeping in mind the annoying shopkeepers who hound you and fellow shoppers who do not respect your space.
But the mantra is not to lose cool, for they only want to do business and if the transaction or bargaining gets too tiresome simply excuse yourself and get out of the underground shopping area for some fresh air and another world of Palika
Giving the Palika Bazar stiff competition is the flea market over ground.
Selling almost the same things as their counterparts down under, these hawkers are
largely responsible for the poor sale of products, underground.
One of the shopkeepers who did not wish to be named, said, “They mostly have only shirt and pants whereas we have all possible products, from jewellery to electronic products, from shawls to tattoo parlours. And their shops are illegal and due to the increase in the number of hawkers, we are facing huge loss because people no more wish to come down as they are getting the same shirt from the hawkers. Some shopkeepers have even left their shops due to poor sale. Here, we also have to take care of the electricity bills, pay salary to the staff. But, on the other hand, the hawkers are just free from all these.”
Talking to Metrolife, a shopping enthusiast Rakesh Gupta, said, “I came here to buy shades because they have a huge variety.
Instead of buying one pair of shades worth Rs 5,000, I prefer buying two/three shades
from the hawkers here.
I also buy shirts from them because I am not brand conscious at all.”
Another shopper, Atul Kumar, said, “I come here because I get variety. In markets like Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, you will only find ladies stuff, whereas these hawkers and the underground Palika Bazar have a great variety for men. That is why I come here to buy my shirts and trousers. Plus the bargaining is also great. If you know the art of bargaining, this place surely offers a lot.”
But, if on one hand, hawkers are enjoying a good sale, security has become a major concern, especially because the flea market also has entry points to the Rajiv Chowk Metro station.
The place becomes so crowded that one can barely walk.
Add to this the muck, the chaos, noise pollution, overflowing garbage bins and little effort to keep the area clean and tourist-friendly does leave one with a bad impression.
But as we said earlier, notoriety and good bargains are all part of this flea market!